Category Archives: Stargazing

See Comet Lovejoy While You Can

This is Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy). Like many comets, it has a bright green color due to the fluorescence of diatomic carbon molecules in its tail, broken off from its surface. And most notably, Comet Lovejoy is visible to the … Continue reading

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In the sky: supernova in M82!

The little arrow in the picture is pointing to SN 2014J, a new supernova in the M82 galaxy. It may not look like much in this picture, but it’s getting brighter. Here’s a more recent photo, as of January 25. … Continue reading

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Watch Comet ISON skim the Sun tomorrow

On Thanksgiving Day, the much-anticipated perihelion passage of Comet ISON will occur, and astronomers around the world will be watching. NASA is turning its fleet of Sun-observing spacecraft to watch as ISON plunges toward a fiery date with death or … Continue reading

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Two naked-eye comets in the northern skies

The northern hemisphere has been drawing the short straw when it comes to comets for the last few years. The last few really bright comets have all been in the southern sky. But that streak finally appears to be ending, … Continue reading

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In the sky: Venus

Venus, the nearest planet to Earth, has long been an object of interest in the heavens. It is the brightest point-like object in the sky (for now: it only narrowly edges out the International Space Station), and aside from the … Continue reading

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In the sky: Nova Delphini 2013

A rare event is happening this month–one that only happens once every few years–a naked eye nova is visible in the night sky. This is not a supernova, but what is sometimes called a “classical nova”, literally, a “new” star … Continue reading

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In the sky: the Perseids

The most reliable and visible of the dozens and dozens of meteor showers that occur over the course of the year is the Perseid shower. The Perseids occur every year in July and August when Earth passes through the tail … Continue reading

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